Thursday, December 5, 2013

My Best Wishes

My Best Wishes: Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa and all the best wishes I can muster to you and your family. It is the time of year when we once again feel the giddiness of the holiday season enter our bones and we are often conveying our best intended wishes to our fellow souls. We replace, and sometimes add, a wish of holiday happiness in place of a thank you and, quite often, send friends and family on their way with season’s tidings instead of a goodbye. The feeling of doing this elicits a feeling of kinship and brings a sense of warmth to my heart. It is also an exceptional feeling when they are received. But this also seems to be the time of year when others take a sense of superiority in their well-wishing plans to make sure you understand their point of view. How many times have you been admonished for not being politically correct and offering a “Merry Christmas” instead of a “Happy Holidays’? Or, how many times has the reversed happened? It has happened to me personally and I have seen it done to others. This is NOT cool. Just by taking the time to wish a fellow human your best wishes should be seen as a real gift, an act of unselfish kindness which, when I last checked, the world could use a whole lot more. We have gone past a point where the simple act of receiving a wish of holiday cheer is seen as an attack on your personal beliefs. Relax. Enjoy the season, the well wishes and count yourself lucky to have those around you who are thoughtful enough to say something nice, at all. Tolerance. Or maybe we should pin it to our jackets so no one makes a trespass onto your person?

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Gratitude and Minimalism

Ahhh, Sunday morning, coffee, keyboard, silence. These are the things for which gratitude was intended. These small moments are the glue which hold an otherwise chaotic life together. I have been doing a lot of thinking of late of the material world in which we live. The rush and the rash of society to which many cling is a world hard to leave behind, but an outstanding goal all the same. Trying to live within the parameters of a minimalist lifestyle is not an easy change to make- or even begin. I am not saying that I am going to try and throw all the trappings of material comfort to the curb, I am only going to try a very subtle start to this exercise- perhaps you could, as well. As with many truly worthwhile endeavors, it is best to start with a question. The idea to which we can return when doubt clouds the original vigor with which we started our journey. But for me, it will be the questions to ask- every time. Do I really need it? Will this 'thing' make a real difference in my life? Can I live without it? I think most of the time I will be able to answer these questions outright when it comes to me personally. No, I probably do NOT need it. No, it probably will not make a real differencein my life. Yes, I can probably survive without it. Why then, for me, the topic and consideration of making such a change? Hard question. I am wrestling with that one right now and trying to steer my decision to be driven by the proper motivation. Is it economic? Yes, of course. Is it spiritual? Yes, I think so. Or is it like some of the other things I have done- just to see if I can do it? Probably. But the motivation, I believe, is a very important aspect of even considering taking a step like this. I believe it would mean the difference between utter failure and complete success- without much middle ground to be considered. While I can see this is an extremely vague topic without much direction or clear cut plan to start, it is a topic about which I have thought with some frequency and depth. How would I feel at the end of, say, three months without having purchased a single item of convenience for myself? To properly answer that question, I feel that framing the answer would require going back to the motivations above. Economically, I would have not spent the cash which could be used for another, more noble puropose. Spiritually, I think by having contemplated the transaction on that level would expand my thought process. And, like the other events in my life- I did it! While considering each of these motivations individually would be a step in the right direction, I believe that by having met them all with the intention of moving myself forward on a different level of existence would be the ultimate goal. So why, do you ask, did I begin the topic with a note of gratitude? Because I think that by stepping back and taking an inventory of the truly important things in my life- my children, my wife, my family, my career; gratitude is the root from which I will grow along personal and spiritual lines. Without a deep sense of gratitude, how am I, how are we to begin a life with a deeper meaning that your next purchase? Namaste; D